Formal treaty called to halt fake meds

A treaty was essential to define the problem and staunch the flow of these medicines which are contributing to the deaths of patients, even in First World countries, they said, ahead of a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on the subject.

At present, the global crackdown on fake tobacco was tougher than international laws on fake drugs, they said.

Led by a Canadian academic Associate Professor Amir Attaran and supported by the World Federation of Public Health Associations, International Pharmaceutical Federation and International Council of Nurses, the group urged a change to the confusing terminology surrounding questionable medicines.

They proposed clearly defining the problems posed by particular drugs, such as whether they are substandard due to poor manufacturing practice, counterfeit due to infringement of trademarks, or deliberately faked, “with criminal intent” and containing no active ingredient.